Monday, December 17, 2012

You Are a Very Beautiful: England Day 7

"Oh! Who can ever be tired of Bath?" - Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen. 


So, Bath. This was one of the best ideas we had, besides Oxford and the next day. So maybe just venturing outside of London was the best idea we had, even though we loved London, too. OK, so the whole trip was a good idea. But waking up in Bath was like waking up on Christmas morning.


The architecture and history and the WEATHER pretty much made this day trip to Bath, and we had just as many thing to do and see that day as any day in London, but at this beautiful pace. I kept saying to Tom, "I'm so happy right now," and he would agree. 


After a beautiful cursory stroll around Bath that morning, we set out for Sally Lunn's. It's a well known landmark (foodmark) in Bath. If you go to Bath, you go to Sally Lunn's, known for its world famous 'Sally Lunn Bun".




Even though the buns did not disappoint, I have to say, right now, unequivocally, that I had the best peppermint tea of my life in here. It tasted like a melted candy cane. I was in heaven.


Tom's egg breakfast bun


My cinnamon breakfast bun
Sally Lunn's is also famous for being the oldest house in Bath. I think 1492 or something? She lived there in 1680. It's so old that Dickens and Austen, both patrons of Lunn's,  would have considered it old and historic in their times.

After that delight, we decided that we wouldn't be in Bath if we didn't actually tour the Roman Baths, the reason for the city's namesake. So we walked about a block or two and found ourselves in history much older and much cooler than we thought.

The famous Roman Bath House and Pump Rooms

Basically, the Romans occupied England (and Bath) from about 43 A.D. And instead of making themselves at home in the English way (which was pretty rural then), they brought home (Rome) with them and made their own Roman Bath houses. They served both spiritual and recreational purposes. I have to admit, I wasn't expecting this place on our trip and we were both thoroughly impressed by this and the tour itself. We even drank some of the 'ancient healing mineral water' (you can also get it at gift shops all around Bath).


The view from the top of the pool
 
More amazing views of Bath

From here we knew that we were going to the Jane Austen Museum next. Duh. This was a half-tourist trap and half-awesome experience. Would I still do it about 10 times in a row? Yuh.
 

It was about 3 or 4 doors down from Jane Austen's actual house in Bath, and gives you a pretty cool/sad look into her life. Her early years at Bath were great, her later years? Tragic.



 Our tour guide...
 All of the women and men there wore period costumes/uniforms. Awesome.

Jane Austen's view. I was struck by this....
 Period tea sets, and costumes...
 Ann Elliot's costume from Persuasion the movie...
As the tour wound down, we knew were going to go to the upper tea room, or Regency Tea Room and have afternoon tea and amazing peppermint tea part deux. Probably my favorite part. We ordered the Tea with Mr. Darcy, and then every other person in the room saw it and ordered it, too. It was quite humorous actually. Every bite was the best I'd ever tasted. We laughed during the whole thing,  a 'this is so delicious and funny that we're delirious' laugh.





 The Russian couple that ordered the same thing right after us (after they'd already ordered)...
I can't tell you how much I fought Tom on NOT taking this next picture. Everyone was watching and for some reason my behavior at Westminster Abbey didn't seem cheesy to me, but this was just too much. I've recovered from the embarrassment now I guess...

The afternoon was coming on, so now we were ready to see Jane Austen's house in bath. This was her view from that house sans cars and paved road....

No. 25: Jane Austen's house in Bath. It is now a dentist's office. No frills or spectacle. Just a dentist's office with a blue door.

She lived right next to the Royal Crescent so we took a small, gorgeous fall walk to get to it.


I loved this blue door along the stone walls as we walked....

Ahh, the ridiculously beautiful Royal Crescent...
 


We loved Bath but it was time to get on to our next destination before dark. We had decided to spend that afternoon/night/half of the next day in Stourhead. We booked a B&B at the gates of Stourhead (literally) and had the most unreal experience of my whole life probably. 

The autumn drive to Stourhead from Bath...

The unbelievable countryside. Filled with farms and abbeys and manors and sheep...

 Our B&B. Out of this world. Well, our world anyway... 
(our room was on the top left of that middle house)
Our innkeeper/B&B owner looked like a rural Mick Jagger, who paints in Bath as a day job and runs this B&B at night and on the weekends. He was dumbstruck by me and Tom. He couldn't understand what two young newlywed Americans would be doing there, in November, in a rural part of the country, completely devoid of tourists, on our own accord, when we could have chosen anywhere. We had to let him know we wouldn't have chosen anything else. And we wouldn't have. Stourhead was our plan from day one of planning. It was more than we could have hoped for. We were almost completely alone and it was perfection.

        Our eclectic Bathroom...

I almost wept because the B&B and the house smelled like my grandparents house and it made me that weepy sort of nostalgic for my youth. And I was an ocean away from my grandparents house.


We ate at this inn across the way from our B&B that night. We were a spectacle there as well. No one could believe that we were choosing this over London or Bath.


 

This is the most serious thing I've ever said when I tell you that we ate the best meals of our lives that night in that inn. The best. We were on the edge of weeping.



And that night wouldn't have been complete without cuddling up and a few minutes of Pride and Prejudice as a precursor to the next day: Stourhead.

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